60-second fix: judgement or judgment

Is using social media ruining writing skills?Brace yourselves: there are two spellings for judgement/judgment.

‘Aha!’ we hear you say. ‘This is an American thing, isn’t it?’

Well, yes and no. It is true that in the US there is only one spelling: judgment. Elsewhere it isn’t quite that simple. In Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK, both spellings exist – and have traditionally been used for slightly different purposes.

  • judgment is used in a legal sense, ie a High Court judgment
  • judgement is used in the general sense, ie using your judgement, or making a judgement call

However, things are changing. The Oxford and Collins dictionaries both list the two spellings as interchangeable, while the Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph all prefer judgment in all instances. In short, judgement with an ‘e’ is looking more old-fashioned by the day.

If you’re sentimental about the ‘e’, by all means hold on to it. But the future, it appears, is judgment.

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